KLM Open Preview & Betting Tips7 min read
The European Tour moves on to the Netherlands this week with a new course hosting the KLM Open. The International should provide plenty of birdie opportunities for the field with the 6,966-yard par 73 containing five par fives.
Patrick Reed failed to contend last week in Germany but the former Masters champion stays in Europe and is the 8/1 favourite. He lacked inspiration at the Porsche European Open and is hard to trust at short odds, while Thomas Pieters made too many mistakes to back at 12/1 this week.
Luiten to deliver again on home soil
Joost Luiten comes into this week as the home hope and the Dutchman could be heading for his third title in the event. Luiten absolutely loves playing in front of his fans and has been inspired by the expectation on his shoulders. Second place in 2007 was his first big performance in Holland and he added sixth place in 2011. Luiten’s maiden home victory came in 2013 and he was fifth in his title defence. A second KLM win arrived three years ago as he shot 19-under-par to triumph at The Dutch.
Luiten will be highly motivated for this week after being forced to miss last year’s tournament due to injury. Few players will have an edge with course experience although the 33-year-old has benefited from extra practice during the run-up to the event. The six-time European Tour winner will be focused on claiming his first title since early 2018 and comes in with solid form. A closing 66 for 23rd at the European Masters was encouraging and he only needs his putter to warm up to contend. Luiten, who is ranked second for strokes gained tee to green, has an excellent record on home turf and looks the pick of the front runners at 16/1 each way.
Romain Wattel has great memories of the KLM Open after securing his sole European Tour title in the Netherlands and more success this weekend should not be ruled out. The French golfer shot 15-under-par two years ago to clinch victory at The Dutch. He was also fifth at Kennemer in 2014 and is clearly extremely comfortable competing in the country.
Wattel has struggled since his breakthrough win but there have been encouraging recent signs suggesting he is finding his form heading into this week. The 28-year-old finished inside the top 20 at the Scottish Open and Czech Masters which hinted at a resurgence. Two missed cuts followed before a superb weekend in Germany, shooting 13-under-par for the last 36 holes, saw him take sixth on Sunday. Wattel brings momentum into this week and can mount another title challenge at 66/1 each way.
Romero can go low in the Netherlands
Andres Romero will never be among the most consistent players but the mercurial talent is capable of threatening victory at a big price. The Argentine golfer came agonisingly close to securing his third European Tour win last month in Switzerland. He shot a second-round 61 and was only beaten in a five-man play-off.
Romero is a streaky player and his near-miss in the Alps could propel him to another strong showing in the Netherlands. This week’s course should suit Romero with the 38-year-old ranked 15th this season for par five scoring. With two victories in Germany, the South American has shown his ability to win in Europe and his aggressive approach could yield plenty of birdies in Amsterdam. Romero, who leads the strokes gained putting ranking this season, appeals to contend again at 80/1.
Another outsider with the potential to contend is Kurt Kitayama. The American has enjoyed a superb breakthrough season with two victories on the European Tour. Kitayama opened his account at the Mauritius Open and quickly backed it up with a win in Oman. Both of these wins came early on in the season and he will be keen to follow them up with more success before the Race to Dubai comes to a conclusion.
Kitayama has admittedly failed to contend for some time although he has posted top 20s in Qatar and Morocco alongside 21st place in Germany in June. The 24-year-old Californian is third for driving distance and his effortless power should enable him to take advantage of the par fives in Holland. Kitayama has shown an ability to close out tournaments and this ability under pressure warrants a bet at 100/1 each way.
Brandon Stone is a proven winner with three European Tour titles and the South African could return to form at a big price this week. The 26-year-old is blessed with natural talent and is capable of extremely low bursts of scoring. Stone shot a final-round 60 for his most recent victory at the Scottish Open last year.
Stone has yet to fire this season although he has spoken optimistically about his ball-striking in recent months. Encouragingly he has form at this tournament after finishing tenth three years ago and the layout of this week’s course certainly suits his power off the tee. Although his current form does not leap off the page, Stone knows how to get over the line and could be worth chancing at 150/1 each way.
Joost Luiten Each Way
Romain Wattel Each Way
Andres Romero Each Way
Kurt Kitayama Each Way
Brandon Stone Each Way